There are three basic install methods for a kitchen sink. A kitchen sink can drop into a hole cut in your countertop (drop-in sink), or be fastened in place from underneath the countertop (under-mount sink). Or a sink can be tiled into place (a tile-in sink), though this is a less common installation.
If you are replacing an existing sink in an existing countertop you need to choose a sink with the same shape and dimensions as the sink you are taking out (obvious, right?). If you are replacing your countertops and your kitchen sink, you can choose what you want.
Kitchen sinks come in several different materials (not counting custom-made sinks). Cast iron sinks with porcelain finishes have been around for a long time, and come in lots of designer colors. At first install these are gorgeous but their appearance will deteriorate with use. As the finish scratches over time, it becomes prone to staining.
Stainless steel sinks don’t have the initial pop, but their appearance tends to change less dramatically over time. There are also more configurations and shapes available with stainless sinks.
Plastic sinks are also available and come in great colors. However some tend to wear poorly, though we have seen some upper-end plastic sinks that do hold up.
When you have your sink installed, you will need to know what faucet you are planning to use. There are different holes required for different faucets (usually 1-,3- or 4-holes), but you may also need a hole for a dishwasher air gap, or for a hand sprayer or soap dispenser. The number of holes, and placement of those holes is especially important with granite counter-tops as your granite installer will need to cut those holes for you.
Another thing to consider when choosing a new kitchen sink is the depth of the sink. Water runs down hill. If the sink you are considering is deeper than your existing sink, the drain outlet may need to be lowered and this could mean cutting into the wall at the back of the sink cabinet. This may also involve removing some cabinets depending on your existing plumbing layout. So if you are unsure on this, get advice from your plumber before you decide on a sink.
If you decide you would like a double sink rather than one large sink, you can now choose from many configurations. Consider if you are right- or left-handed when choosing your sink and the placement of your faucets and soap dispenser.
Finally, don’t scrimp on your sink baskets. You can purchase inexpensive plastic sink baskets that won’t hold up, and won’t do their job. Purchase good quality sink baskets that will hold water when you want to plug the sink and won’t fall apart. The sink basket performs an important job: straining out debris that shouldn’t go down the pipes.
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